Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An Over-achiever not achieving at conceiving

What happens to an over-achiever that is not achieving? They aren’t under-achieving or just meeting expectations. They just aren’t achieving.

What happens is they start to lose IT.

Emotional stability.

All of IT.

Just gone.

No matter the past accomplishments and victories, whatever is being un-achieved dwarfs them in comparison, shrinking their importance. They don’t seem so great or as impressive as they use to be. The shine has been dulled and tarnished, shadowed by the non-achieved looming before the OA.

It is heart-wrenching. Utterly devastating. Completely stagnant. Totally me.

Right now, I am on a paper that is being submitted to one of the most prestigious scienctific journals. I’ve been working on this project for almost 3yrs now. I’m 4th author out of about 20. It’s huge! The OA in me would be a bit smug and excited that so much work and effort has finally paid off, Big Time!

Instead, I would trade it all in, without batting an eyelash, to be pregnant right now. I would hand over my graduate degree, my position of importance and authority in the lab, my fairly decent paycheck, and 4th author status on a ground-breaking paper/project for a baby. Not a moment of hesitation.

OA’s don’t do that! The point of over-achieving is to prove your worth, to get you where you want to be, to prove that you can do things and do them freaking well! Being recognized for a job well-done is the whole reason I over-achieve! I don’t work my butt of for things just to turn around and drop them.

It is a bit strange to think about it this way, but I have put far more effort into making (and keeping) a potential baby than I have into probably anything else in my entire adult life (save my marriage- constant effort that is well worth it). I’ve put loads of time into it. Researching. Reading. Practicing. I’ve invested large amounts of money into it. Doctor appts. Medications, vitamins, supplements. Opks and hpts. And yet, no matter how much time, money or effort I put into the baby equation, I don’t get the correct answer, the desired outcome.

With the input I’ve given to this whole “creating life” project, I would be expecting something like triplets to be the end product if I were to compare it to completely unrelated past experiences. Instead, I have negative product. Debt. Wasted time (can’t get back those hours I spent looking for positions/vitamins/chants/crystals to increase my chances of pregnancy). Loss.

I haven’t achieved. Nor have I under-achieved. I’ve just made no real, tangible progress. That is a hard pill to swallow for me- and that’s saying something given the number of medications I’m ingesting on a daily basis at this point. I can’t say I’m failing, because I’m not. One doesn’t fail if they are trying their best and making the effort. I’m just un-succeeding. Un-achieving. Un-pregnant. Feeling more and more Un-me.


  1. We were just talking about this last night at my infertility support group. It seems so unfair. When you've been raised to believe that through hard work you can achieve anything, failure at getting pregnant is devestating. We work so hard...to the point where there we can't work any harder...so why no results? We tried to come up with a way of changing our view point, but no one could think of any. An OA is an OA through and through. I wish I could post a comment with advice...but I have none. All I can say is you are soooo not alone, and I thank you for putting into words what a lot of us experiencing.

  2. I totally get this. It's amazing how everything else is just background noise when you can't get pregnant, and yah, you can't make it happen no matter how smart, talented or hard-working you are. It's just not fair and it's so hard to let go of that idea.

  3. Hi Christina,

    I really, really enjoy your blog. I'm also TTC and had a m/c in August at 8 weeks. It's been hell. And I really relate to this post of yours. I'm not an "overachiever", per say, but I am successful in my job - the job I've worked years to get - have a wonderful husband and marriage that I put work and effort into, and am all-around doing good in areas that I make an effort. Job, husband, home, pet.

    But I can't do anything more than what I'm doing with TTC, and it kills me. Wanted a great job in a field I love? Took internships, did well in college, stay on top of current market trends. Loving marriage? Snagged a great husband and try not to be TOO bitchy when I have PMS. ;) Cute fuzzy kitten? Went to a shelter and got a cute fuzzy kitten.

    But no matter how many RE appointments I go on, or pills I swallow, or tests I take, there is NOTHING I can do beyond what I'm doing. This is the only thing in my entire life that I've really, really wanted and cannot study, work, or pay money to achieve.

    So I get you. Hope things get better for both of us soon. But keep blogging, you're really wonderful!


  4. I can completely relate to this post. I have definitely had many of the same thoughts myself, as I've been a bit of an overachiever myself, and none of it mattered anymore once I couldn't get and stay pregnant. It's so hard for us control freaks, which I think goes hand in hand with overachieving, to not be able to control the situation. But the thing that gave me a bit of comfort is I wanted to make sure I was doing everything I possibly could - reading all the books, researching, talking to different doctors - before I gave up on trying to have a biological child. And so I tried to look at it like that. I will have a child - whether it be by fertility treatments or adoption or something. But before I can move on to the next step, I wanted to exhaust all my options. And yes, it's a new project, just like one at work. Looking at it like that helped me because I was controlling everything I could, and then I could at least tell myself that I did everything I could...

    Sending you a hug - this stuff is so very hard!

  5. This resonated with me. I do believe you'll get there. And I'll get there, and we'll all get there. I tell myself that we will be better mothers because of what we've been through. When those hard parenting moments arrive, we will be prepared. We will be calm. We will be strong.

  6. Just wanted to say that I totally get it. This is just so where I'm at. I'd trade my law degree in a heartbeat (and since I got it at night while working full time during the day, it was a lot of blood, sweat and tears) just to be able to get pregnant. Sorry that you (and me and all infertiles!) have to go through this. Sending a virtual hug your way!

  7. Thank you all for the support. I was sure I wasn't alone in these feelings, but a bit surprised by how many of ya'll feel the same.

    Just putting the thoughts and feelings out there helps me deal with them and make sense of them. Having ya'll understand and support makes it all the better!

  8. I have grown up being told, 'work hard and it will pay off'. Through these years of failure I would hear that comment and get angry. Angry saying, helloooooo I am trying and trying and failing. However, recently I realize they never put a time limit on that pay off....so for this 'success' it's just not going to be instant like most everything else in my life has been. I like instant gratification, I like doing things and doing them right the FIRST time. That is one of my biggest issues and mountains to cross with IF. It's not instant. It is patients and perseverance. The truth is, not everyone gets pregnant, BUT with that statement proving to alway be true, it will pay off, someway, someday.....xo

  9. I can relate as well. It's so upsetting when you try and try and try and just get the same result. Honestly I'm not sure that there's any good advice for this, expect to know that you're aren't alone and that many of us are also over-achievers too and can understand how you feel.

    Also, congrats on the paper you're working on - that sounds like a really big deal!